Another day, another flying drone delivery test. This one came from 7-Eleven and cohort Flirtey which has delivered dozens of items via drones; OTC medicine and typical 7-Eleven beverages (sans beer, of course).
Drones are all the rage these days and if you walk into most Apple Stores you’ll find a few drones for sale. Drones kill terrorists. Drones deliver medicine. Even Amazon is in on the act and started drone delivery tests in the U.K. This week I saw a YouTube video of a very large drone carrying and pulling a Santa Claus-dressed snowboarder.
Drones are here to stay.
Apple does not make a drone and is not likely to manufacture a drone. An Apple Car makes more sense and even that doesn’t make sense. Cars can go almost anywhere at any time. Delivery drones have very physical limitations that are not likely to make it a delivery service for the masses.
In the U.S. drones must deliver whatever they deliver within eyesight of the drone operator. That may change, but that’s only one of the current limitations. Drones have limited distance and limits to whatever they carry. There may come a time when drones deliver at night, but that time seems far off. Drone makers and companies working on drone delivery must also be concerned about weather conditions, winds, obstructions, birds of prey, dogs and cats, 2nd amendment rights, and drones that hijack drones.
Why doesn’t Apple have a drone delivery service? Excel and PowerPoint. Well, for Apple it would be Numbers and Keynote, but you get the idea.
It’s been my experience that businesses in the 21st century operate on spreadsheets and presentations. Ideas for a new product or service are formulated two ways. Employees come up with a good idea and figure out how to implement said idea, or executive management tells employees to use their ideas instead, and come up with a plan to support it. Either way, Excel and PowerPoint are involved.
In the end, someone constructs a spreadsheet with numbers that indicate the idea is worth the investment, and the PowerPoint presentation explains why and covers some of the features and benefits, plus a cost analysis, and a resource requirement.
So, why doesn’t Apple have a drone delivery service?
Apple likes cool products that make customers feel good. While doctored Excel spreadsheets and fluffed up PowerPoint presentations may make executives feel good about a decision, historically, Apple likes to make money and there’s not going to be any money in autonomous delivery of products over the air. Cars and trucks? Maybe. But not drone deliveries; at least not for a long time.
In other words, Apple is too smart to get caught up in the frenzy of a growing trend that doesn’t bring the company any money, and so far, drone deliveries only make money through investors and drone manufacturers, not through deliver of actual products.
Maybe that’s why we don’t hear so much about Apple Car as a vehicle destined for manufacturing. Not only does manufacturing a vehicles cost a lot of money in a startup operation, there just isn’t much money to be made. Relatively speaking.
In the most recent financials, General Motors net income was less than $3-billion. Ford made more, but not much more. Daimler, of Mercedes-Benz fame, made less than $5-billion for the whole year, but actually lost money the previous year. Toyota seems to be the most profitable at more than $13-billion for the year, but expects far less next year.
While those numbers seem impressive, they come from very large car manufacturers with a broad product line. Newcomer Tesla, the most Apple-like manufacturer, makes a pittance by comparison. Apple could bring in $40-billion in profits for the year, so if the company cannot be bothered to become a semi-autonomous car maker, and considers the Mac a niche despite owning half the PC industry’s profits and $20-billion in annual sales, why would the company care about delivery drones?
Apple is Apple because it hits home runs and triples, not because it gets hit by a pitch and walks in a run.